9 Mistakes to Avoid in a Contracting Interview

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Despite our best efforts, interviews in the staffing world can be a tricky business.

Between nerves and ill-preparation even the most seasoned contractors can find their chances of an offer out of reach. However, the opposite – a great interview – can not only land you the job, but set the tone for your employment. An option which, with a little foresight, is entirely attainable.

We want the ‘great interview’ for you, and furthermore, you deserve a new and exciting opportunity. Make it happen by avoiding these nine common contractor interview mistakes and sidestep the inferior first impression altogether.

1. Show up too early

Timing is everything; arriving too far in advance of a scheduled interview can be just as hurtful as coming late. Show you have the time management skills required for the position by arriving exactly 5 minutes early.

2. Coming late

As mentioned above, timeliness can make or break your first impression. Unless you have a valid excuse and call ahead to notify HR that you will be arriving ‘x’ number of minutes after the scheduled time, your hopes of the receiving an offer are slim.

3. Use Profanity

Even in the event your interviewer curses, stay away from using inappropriate language. It is not suitable in a normal work setting, let alone a contracting interview.

4. Fidgeting and other distracting behaviors

This is more of a problem than you may think. Between “ums”, “likes”, chewing gum, jiggling your knee, or fidgeting with a writing utensil, there are quite a few behaviors that can be detrimental to the interviewer’s concentration and your image. None of these actions are welcome in the interview room so try to refrain. You don’t want to be remembered as the candidate who couldn’t sit still.

5. Rag on your previous/current employer

Stay away from complaining about your current or prior company regardless of the situation. In fact, keep all negative employer feelings to yourself; badmouthing will do nothing but hurt your chances.

6. Use a tired term like ‘perfectionism’ as your greatest weakness

While flawless in theory, the tactic of using positive traits disguised as weaknesses has become a tired practice, with applicant after applicant opting for nuanced responses like ‘perfectionism’ or ‘caring too much.' The truth is that the question of weakness is a difficult one, but one we should all ask ourselves.

Take the time to reflect on opportunities for professional growth and develop a plan for improvement. This is your chance to display the depths of your emotional intelligence and self-awareness, traits any employer would be happy to have on staff.

7. Not asking questions

Questions prove you are interested and engaged in the interview. To inquire further about post shows you are curious to learn more and to find your place in the company.

8. Jumping into issues of pay or benefits too quickly

Compensation and benefits are both important factors to consider when choosing your next position, and might even act as a deciding factor when assessing multiple opportunities. However, broaching this topic too early can come across as less than tactful. Do not mention money or benefits unless an offer is on the table, then and only then is it acceptable to delve into specifics.

9. Not following up

It may seem like a relic of the past but following up in some form, whether email or hand written note, is a straightforward means of bringing your candidacy to the forefront of the interviewer's mind. UseF your follow-up to reiterate your interest in the position/company, as well as thanking the interviewer for their time and consideration. It is a courtesy which will take only a moment of your time but just might tip the contractor job search scales in your favor.

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